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Qiṣāṣ (Arabic: قصاص‎) is an Islamic term meaning "retaliation" or "settlement of accounts".[1] It is a legal concept that follows the principle of lex talionis ("An eye for an eye") first recorded in the Code of Hammurabi. In the case of murder, it means the right of a murder victim's heirs to demand the murderer's execution.

O ye who believe, equivalence is the law decreed for ye when dealing with murder – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the female for the female. If one is pardoned by the victim's kin, an appreciative response is in order, and an equitable compensation shall be paid. This is an alleviation from thine Lord and mercy. Anyone who transgresses beyond this incurs a painful retribution.[2][3]

The Qur'an also allows aggrieved parties to forfeit the right of qiṣāṣ as an act of charity or in atonement for sins.[4]

Qiṣāṣ is enforced today by a number of states which apply Sharia law, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.[5][6]

In 2009, qiṣāṣ gained attention in the Western media when Ameneh Bahrami, an Iranian woman blinded in an acid attack, demanded that her attacker Majiv Movahedi be blinded as well.[7] In 2011, Bahrami retracted her demand on the day the sentence was to be carried out, requesting instead that her attacker be pardoned.[8]


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